Author: Stuart Sudak

Stuart Sudak Stuart Sudak is a longtime freelance journalist based in Minnesota. Over the years, he has written for newspapers, magazines, websites, and corporations. Stuart also served as an editor at several newspapers in Minnesota and Illinois, including the Eden Prairie News from 2000-05. He lives in Chaska with his wife Tracy and three children. To view some of his recent work, visit https://www.clippings.me/users/stuartsudak

When life gave the country lemons, the Olympic Hills neighborhood made lemonade. Twenty years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Eden Prairie neighborhood continues to do so during its annual Olympic Hills 9/11 Lemonade Stand. This year’s lemonade stand will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at 9497 Painters Ridge, Eden Prairie. “It’s actually our 21st anniversary because we had one a week after 9/11,” said Sue Donkersgoed, the event’s one constant through the years. “My son (Van) was in second grade, and now he’ll be 28. It’s hard to…

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Judith Mary (Nelson) Ellingson of Friendship Village in Bloomington passed away peacefully on September 5, 2021, at age 86. Born to Denise and A. Herbert Nelson on January 25, 1935, Judy grew up in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis, spent many of her summers at the family cabin on Big Sandy Lake, and graduated from the University of Minnesota. Judith Ellingson While at the U of M, Judy and the love of her life, Dave Ellingson, made lifelong friends as they participated in Theta and SAE events. Judy devoted herself to her children and grandchildren. She was the…

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Two people have died from injuries suffered in an early Sunday, Sept. 5, one-vehicle crash in Minnetonka. The crash occurred after several vehicles suspected of street racing in Eden Prairie fled police. KSTP-TV and social media posts identified Devlyn Voss, 19, of Maplewood, and Marina Emms, 19, of Woodbury, as the crash victims. According to an Eden Prairie police statement, officers responded at 1:41 a.m. Sept. 5 to a 911 call indicating multiple vehicles were street racing at Flying Cloud Drive and Crosstown Circle. Several vehicles fled the area as officers arrived, leading to a short pursuit of one vehicle…

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World War II veteran Harlan Riedesel marvels at how much time has passed between his first airplane flight and his most recent one. Harlan Riedesel, who turns 100 on Oct. 6, gives the thumbs up before taking off. Operation September Freedom aims to provide 1,000 free flights to WWII veterans. Photo by Stuart Sudak Riedesel’s maiden plane voyage took off on Oct. 6, 1935, his 14th birthday. He traveled from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Kansas City in a Ford Trimotor transport aircraft. His latest flight took off Monday, Aug. 30, just 38 days before his 100th birthday. It was a…

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For 14 years, the Elizabeth Fries Ellet Interpretive Trail (EFEIT) has served as an outdoor science and history lab. The nearly mile-long trail in the Richard T. Anderson Conservation Area in Eden Prairie shines a light on the historical habitat with seven signs that dot its path. Now, Vicki Pellar Price, a longtime Eden Prairie resident who shepherded the trail to reality in 2007 as director of Writers Rising Up, is taking her efforts a step further. (The mission of the non-profit Writers Rising Up is to promote writers who portray place, natural habitat, and wetlands in their work.) Price and author…

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SouthWest Transit, which serves Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska, will provide bus service to the Minnesota State Fair this year. The fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 26, to Monday, Sept. 6. People can catch a ride each day to the fair at SouthWest Station, 13500 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, and SouthWest Village, 650 SouthWest Village Drive, Chanhassen. Rides are also available from East Creek Station, 2120 Chestnut St. N., Chaska, on Saturday and Sunday.  Unlike in the past, there will be no SouthWest Transit service to the fair this year from Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-11:30…

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Calista Swensen’s garden is thriving in what seems like an improbable setting. Tucked away on the side of a large industrial building at 7550 Corporate Way in Eden Prairie, the 4,800-square-foot garden is hard to spot from the road. The 16-year-old Eden Prairie High School junior joked that she has a connection with the building owner. Her father, Brett Swensen, owns Modern Office Furniture, one of the businesses housed there. But, stroll amid the bucolic green symmetry of what Swensen calls the People’s Patchwork Community Garden, and its commerce-focused neighbors are forgotten. It’s quiet here among the plants. No wonder…

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Eden Prairie siblings Sasha and Nico Allen are making their mark by digging into the past. The budding historians earned two of the top three honors among Minnesota students participating last month in the 2021 National History Day Contest. Sasha, 15, and Nico, 13, the children of Scott and Juliana Allen, were among 60 Minnesota students who competed in the annual competition. Held virtually this year because of the pandemic, it usually takes place in Washington, D.C. According to its website, the contest encourages middle school and high school students to do original research on historical topics. Students presented exhibits, papers,…

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When it came to uncovering Eden Prairie’s past, Ernie Shuldhiess was quite the detective. Sifting through old newspaper articles on 200 rolls of microfilm, the longtime Eden Prairie resident unearthed a treasure trove of historic anecdotes chronicling the city’s early days. The result of his labor? Two books authored by Shuldhiess on Eden Prairie history. Longtime Eden Prairie resident Ernie Shuldhiess died in 2007 at 58. Photo credit Stuart Sudak His first, Eden Prairie Book of Days, features a short nugget of Eden Prairie history for each of the 365 days of the year. Shuldhiess once described it as a…

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Instead of flowers, Spencer Conrad’s family asked that people honor him by donating to the Minnesota Fire Initiative (MnFire). Former Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen and several of his firefighting colleagues formed the statewide advocacy organization in 2016. The 501 (c)(3) non-profit MnFire provides firefighters with the tools, training, and support they need to prioritize and protect their health from cancer, emotional trauma, and cardiac disease. According to MnFire, those three are affecting firefighters at rates about double those of the general population.  Through its efforts, MnFire aims to reverse those trends. Esbensen serves as president of the MnFire board.…

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